Beginner Softball Pitching Tips

Softball pitchers are the dominant players in their sport. At the elite level, softball pitchers can throw 70-mile-per-hour fastballs along with drops, risers, curves and changeups. Runs are often at a premium, and the best pitchers throw shutouts or allow one or two runs with regularity. However, in the beginning, pitchers have to learn the basics to feel comfortable on the mound.

Learn the Strike Zone

Once a pitcher starts to feel comfortable standing on the mound, she soon learns that the first thing she needs to do is throw with control. To be effective, she must throw strikes. Get the ball over the plate between the tops of the batter’s knees and the armpits. Once a pitcher can throw with consistent control, the next steps are adding velocity and finding the corners. But for a beginner, getting the ball over the plate is sufficient.

Relax on the Mound

Do not squeeze the ball too tightly when you are on the mound. If you are going to throw with good velocity and even better control, you have to be relaxed and clear thinking on the mound. If you are tense in thought and grip the ball too tightly, you will not have control, and you won’t throw the ball the way you want to. The tendency for most pitchers in softball is to grip the ball too tightly when the situation is dangerous. However, that will turn a one-run inning into a five-run inning. Relax your arm, and relax your mind.

Field Your Position

In softball, it is essential for softball pitchers to become good fielders. Pitchers are the first line of defense. You have to know the game and know how to react to the ball hit right back at you. If you are not a good fielder, you will be afraid of the ball hit right back at you. That may subconsciously force you to throw pitches that the hitter will hit to right field or left field but not up the middle. Pitchers who can field their position have a better opportunity to stay in the game when others who can’t field as well might be taken out.

About this Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who’s Better, Who’s Best in Football — The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.